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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explains the constitutional status of the Supreme Court of Canada with attention to the Court’s composition, jurisdiction, and procedure. The chapter discusses the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss 5 and 6 and considers whether and how that decision limits Parliament’s authority to make changes to the Court. Both the process for appointing Supreme Court of Canada justices and the process for appointing other federal judges to the country’s superior courts are explained. The authors argue that both appointment processes are inconsistent with democratic ideals of transparency and accountability. They examine the emerging scholarly and professional consensus on the importance of institutional diversity on the bench, and conclude that the continuing lack of diversity in the federal judiciary raises legitimate political and constitutional concerns.

Keywords: judges, courts, Canadian Supreme Court, diversity, judiciary, superior courts, judicial appointment

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